By Martin Dixon (@BunnySuicida)
So you’re back. Unless this is your first time reading so in that case, you’re here. Welcome back to Wrestling in the Clinton years, soon to be a movie produced by Michael Bay. Probably.
Fire off the party poppers and steamers as this episode of Nitro has almost no Hulk Hogan at all! Woooo, party time! Don’t get too excited though as we learn that Hacksaw Jim Duggan is on this episode so it isn’t all good times. Eric Bischoff is once again flanked by Bobby Heenan and Mongo on commentary as we learn that the tag team rematch from last week has a new added wrinkle. Sting and Lex Luger will defend their tag team titles but Lex’s Television title is also up for grabs should he be pinned. Their opponents have something to lose too as Ric Flair’s World Heavyweight Championship also hangs in the balance if he is the one pinned or made to submit and you can all do your own “Too Many Cooks” joke. We also learn of Randy Savage’s (who Mongo describes as “the Kujo of the WCW” (dammit Mongo, there’s no “the” when naming WCW) increasingly erratic behaviour backstage. It would be great if we could see this behaviour as with no real segments to support this we are left with second hand information awkwardly shoehorned in by the announcers.
Pepe has googly eyes this week.
As the Public Enemy make their way to the ring for their match against the American Males with a table on tow, Bischoff once again reveals the results over on Raw, referring to Goldust as a “transvestite” (Inigo Montoya may have something to say over your use of that word Eric). To be honest I always had the impression that Bischoff was routinely giving Raw’s results away but so far that has only happened twice in nearly 4 months of episodes, maybe that changes going forward.
The Public Enemy jump the Males from behind and dump Marcus Bagwell out of the ring leaving Scotty Riggs at their mercy but Riggs ducks a double clothesline allowing Bagwell to leap off the top rope, wiping out both of the heels. The faces then throw the Enemy out of the ring and hit planchas over the top rope to Rocco Rock and Johnny Grunge.
After that spirited opening the match settles down as Riggs and Grunge duke it out with Scotty levelling Grunge with a hiptoss and body slam. The two babyfaces’ quick tags overwhelm the Enemy until a sneaky superkick gives Rocco Rock the advantage over Bagwell. After a short beat down Rock misses an almost Swanton Bomb allowing Riggs to tag in and run wild until Grunge throws Riggs over the top rope that causes the Enemy to be disqualified because WCW chooses to enforce that rule this week. The Males’ victory is bittersweet as Riggs is splashed through the ringside table the Enemy set up earlier and just like Jerry Sags last week, we are to assume that he is injured from this. Man up Riggs, Bagwell went through two tables the last time these teams fought and he came back to face Ric Flair for the title!
The infamous fustercluck that was the Battlebowl tournament is next on the agenda as Mean Gene is flanked by two lovely ladies to help Gene draw the “random” pairings in the tag team tournament. Aside from Scott Norton being drawn with Ice Train (which will go on to be a regular duo), the shocking news in this segment is that Randy Savage and Ric Flair have been drawn as partners! Who’d have thought it would be possible in a completely random drawing, not me that’s for sure!
Eddie Guerrero returns to Nitro from Japan to face a fellow returnee Chris Benoit in the next match and if I may spoil it a little bit. It’s bloody good.
The two lock up to begin the match and Benoit pushes Eddie back into the corner that forces the referee to separate the wrestlers. From a second lock up Eddie is the one to push Benoit back to show how evenly matched the two are. This stalemate angers Benoit who rushes Guerrero after they break only to be dropped by two lightning quick armdrags and a dropkick to the face that forces Benoit out of the ring to vent his growing frustration.
The action resumes with Benoit trapping Eddie in a wristlock and dragging him down to the mat by Guerrero’s lustrous mullet. Eddie’s previous good humour is thrown out of the window from this unsporting behaviour of Benoit’s and he angrily shoves the Canadian only to be felled by a back suplex. Just prior to an ad break Eddie is also the recipient of a a snapmere and a chinlock that sees the two through the commercials.
Fighting out of Benoit’s clutches after the ads Eddie pops the crowd with a beautiful headscissors and back suplex but Benoit soon hits a bridging German suplex that gets him a close near fall. The two begin to exchange punches with Eddie getting the better of Benoit but Chris puts distance between them by throwing Eddie through the ropes. The resilient Guerrero is quick to climb to the top rope though and lands a stunning top rope huracanrana but Benoit’s foot on the bottom rope saves him during the subsequent pin. Eddie tries a victory roll from Benoit’s shoulders to finally end the match but Chris drops to his knees as Eddie tries to pull him to the canvas. With his knees pinning Eddie’s shoulders Benoit grabs a nearby rope as the ref is preoccupied with the count to sneakily keep Guerrero in place and win the match, and what a match it was. Although as I’ve explained in earlier posts in order to watch a Benoit match I have to distance myself to the point that I’m practically on a different continent but this was a great match on a mechanical level which is the only way I feel I can watch these.
After some more ads Gene is back with Rob Garner, a member of WCW’s championship committee (an organisation more secretive and shadowy than Metal Gear Solid’s Patriots). Mr Garner expresses the committee’s concern over Randy Savage’s behaviour. Savage soon appears to cut a classic “Macho Man” promo on Garner and promises to keep doing what he’s doing in the manner he always has. Garner’s allusion that Savage requires professional help doesn’t sit well with Randy and he leaves in a huff to end the segment.
I hope you like nerve holds and stalling because Meng vs Hacksaw Jim Duggan is next. Selling seems like an afterthought here which only has the effect of making both men look ineffectual despite Meng’s fearsome presence. Jim Duggan tapes his fist which must act like the star in Mario making Duggan invincible and knocks Meng out with one punch to win. Utterly wretched.
Gene is back AGAIN following this for more “random” Battlebowl name drawing and Quelle Surprise! Mortal enemies Steven Regal and The Belfast Bruiser have been drawn as a team!
Lastly it’s time for the main event with a ton of belts on the line in a rematch from the last Nitro as Sting and Lex Luger once again face Ric Flair and the Giant. Sadly a lot of the last match creeps back into this one too as many spots are repeated. Highlights prior to the finish include Sting clotheslining Giant over the top rope and not getting disqualified like Public Enemy did earlier on as well as Sting nearly decapitating himself on a guardrail after missing a stinger splash. The end comes after Sting and Luger have Flair cornered in the ring. As the Giant sneaks up behind the faces Woman passes Flair some coffee in the beverage’s third Nitro appearance. As the faces draw near Flair lets loose with the scalding hot coffee only to see them move and the drink hit Giant in the eyes. The bell is rung as Flair runs for his life. Giant is incensed as his eyesight returns and his anger turns towards Flair despite him hilariously returning to the ring with a towel. Flair absconds to the announce booth as Gene grabs a few words with Giant as he challenges Flair to a world title match next week. Flair accepts in a roundabout fashion, promising to “kick your big ass” forcing an apology from Bischoff. If you’re apologising for anything Eric, apologise for the Meng and Duggan match as that was so bad it caused me to stop watching this episode and taking notes until the next day. Aside from that the rest of the show was pretty good. Eddie and Benoit had a great bout and the American Males and Public Enemy had a match just as good as their first encounter. The main event was okay but a bit overly familiar due to being a rematch and robbed of all tension due to the crazy championship stipulation. At that point it became clear as day that neither team would win but Giant vs Flair next week is something I want to see.
Once again, thank you for reading and off into the new day’s mist I run.